Proactively supporting the personal health and wellbeing of our employees
Supporting young people in work and education, training and developing our employees in healthcare, retail and other careers, and providing them with tools to stay healthy are part of the heritage of our legacy companies. At Walgreens Boots Alliance, we launched or expanded on several initiatives in these areas in fiscal 2016.
More than 50 young people, aged 16 to 18, participated in Boots UK’s new healthcare apprenticeship program, which is designed to generate excitement about careers in community pharmacy. The apprentices learn on the job in paid positions at the most vibrant Boots stores across the UK. During their 12-month program, apprentices are trained to offer industry-leading healthcare advice and dispense medication within the pharmacy. Boots UK plans to expand the program in fiscal 2017.
In the USA, the Balance Rewards wellness engagement program continued to grow in fiscal 2016. The program, which has seen increased and sustained engagement since it began in 2013, is repeated two or three times each year, with approximately 10 activities offered each period. More than 45,000 employees enrolled in the Walgreens medical plan participated in healthy activities in January-April 2016, earning points that are redeemable at Walgreen stores and at Walgreens.com.
The points are earned by completing wellness programs and activities such as health coaching, getting a flu shot, joining a weight management or smoking cessation program and more.
Walgreen Benefit Fund
The Walgreen Benefit Fund assists employees experiencing hardship. The employee-supported non-profit organization, established in 1939, assists employees and retirees facing financial difficulty due to accidents, long illnesses or natural disasters. In fiscal 2016 the Benefit Fund provided more than $2 million in assistance to 1,406 employees and retirees.
Employees give directly to the Benefit Fund or donate through the Charity Choice payroll deduction plan. Walgreens employees donated more than $700,000 through Charity Choice in fiscal 2016, with the five choices for payroll deduction being United Way, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Walgreen Benefit Fund.
Another ongoing initiative that promotes wellbeing for our employees is Walgreens University, which helps our people build their careers by providing them with the tools and resources to learn and grow. Every year, Walgreens University delivers hundreds of hours of training courses that are developed both internally and through other educational institutions.
In fiscal 2016 the University launched an exciting new career development platform that aims to help employees grow their careers. Also in fiscal 2016, more than 2,200 employees participated in leadership development programs, including LEAP, Walgreens award-winning program for assistant store managers. Employees who complete training through Walgreens University can also receive college credit through our university partners.
Education providers to Walgreens University include DePaul University; Loyola University of Chicago; Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, University of Maryland University College (UMUC); Webster University; the University of Phoenix; and DeVry University. Tuition discounts of 10 percent to 25 percent are available to many Walgreens team members and their families.
Opportunities for ex-offenders
In collaboration with business-led charity Business in the Community (BITC), Boots UK and Alliance Healthcare in the UK have continued to lead the Reducing Re-offending through Employment network, which has convened 19 different member companies since 2012, primarily from the Boots supply chain. The network builds partnerships with prisons and social enterprises to offer employment opportunities to ex-offenders to help them rebuild their lives free from crime. Boots UK was also one of the earliest companies to sign up to the international Ban the Box campaign, which encourages employers to give ex-offenders a fair chance to compete for jobs by removing the criminal record check box from hiring applications.
Through a three-year partnership with HM Prison & Young Offenders Institute Sudbury, as of 31 August 2016 Boots UK had supported 82 ex-offenders through temporary paid work placements in warehouse positions. These jobs provided the candidates with accredited training and skills building to gain confidence about sustaining a life without crime. The candidates applied through two recruitment agencies and went through a formal interview process.
Global Citizen Initiative
In fiscal 2016, our human resources and CSR teams launched the Global Citizen Initiative, where 10 colleagues from across Walgreens Boots Alliance were nominated to attend the Developing Global Citizens event in London.
During the two-day program, participants discussed critical CSR topics, networked and met with senior leaders to gain a broader understanding of our Company.
They also attended the “Future Leaders Summit,” sponsored by Fujitsu, which formed part of the annual Business in the Community Responsible Business Awards Gala. The summit and awards dinner, which celebrated the role businesses play in creating a fairer society and a more sustainable future in the UK and internationally, brought together approximately 1,600 guests from business, communities, non-governmental organizations, government and the media at the O2 arena in London on 11 July 2016.